Rocky (film series)

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Rocky anthology dvd cover.jpg
Rocky Anthology DVD set
Directed by John G. Avildsen
(Rocky & Rocky V)
Sylvester Stallone
(Rocky II–IV & Rocky Balboa)
Produced by Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Written by Sylvester Stallone
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Burgess Meredith
Carl Weathers
Tony Burton
Music by Bill Conti
(Rocky I–III & V-Balboa)
Vince DiCola (Rocky IV)
Cinematography James Crabe (Rocky)
Bill Butler (Rocky II–IV)
Steven B. Poster (Rocky V)
J. Clark Mathis (Rocky Balboa)
Edited by Richard Halsey
Scott Conrad (Rocky)
Stanford C. Allen
Janice Hampton (Rocky II)
Don Zimmerman (Rocky III–IV)
Mark Warner (Rocky III)
John W. Wheeler (Rocky IV)
John G. Avildsen
Robert A. Ferretti
Michael N. Knue (Rocky V)
Sean Albertson (Rocky Balboa)
Distributed by United Artists
United International Pictures
Release dates
Running time
639 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $119.8 million
Box office $1,126,271,447

Rocky is a boxing saga of popular films all written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, who plays the character Rocky Balboa. The films are, by order of release date: Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990) and Rocky Balboa (2006). The film series has grossed more than US$1 billion at the worldwide box office.

The original film and the fifth installment were directed by John G. Avildsen, while Stallone directed all of the others.


Rocky (1976)[edit]

Main article: Rocky

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a small-time boxer who seems to be going nowhere in life, as he works day-in and day-out as a collector for a loan shark and fights in sleazy clubs for low-paid reward, to which Rocky is mocked and told that he's nothing but a 'bum', especially by gym trainer Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith). At the same time, Rocky unsuccessfully courts Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire), a painfully shy woman with an alcoholic brother, Paulie (Burt Young). But when heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) chooses Rocky at random as his opponent in a title fight, Rocky realizes he now has the chance to prove he is not worthless. With Adrian as his support and Mickey becoming his trainer and manager, Rocky fights for his self-respect.

Rocky II (1979)[edit]

Main article: Rocky II

Soon after proving himself, even with a split decision loss to Apollo Creed, Rocky expects the good life to follow. He marries Adrian and begins spending the money he earned from the match. But after he fails at both endorsements and a series of low-wage jobs, Rocky realizes the only way he can survive is to begin boxing again. Creed, on the other hand, faces criticism from fans to overcome the fight. As a result, he taunts Rocky through publicity into a rematch, for which Rocky trains once again with Mickey. In the fifteenth round, Rocky knocks Creed to the ground, falling to the ground himself in the process. Both fighters struggle to get to their feet, but only Rocky is successful. For the first time, Rocky is declared the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Rocky III (1982)[edit]

Main article: Rocky III

After winning the heavyweight title, Rocky takes advantage of his newfound wealth and fame, appearing in multiple advertisements & television programs, and relishing his new celebrity. After defending the title multiple times, he is prepared to retire, but the No. 1 contender, James "Clubber" Lang (played by Mr. T), challenges Rocky publicly. Rocky, after dealing with Mickey's heart attack before the fight, is overpowered by the stronger, hungrier Lang and is knocked out in the second round. Mickey passes away after the fight, and old rival Apollo Creed steps in, training Rocky to fight more in Creed's old style (and in his old Los Angeles gym) and use more guile and skill. In the rematch, Rocky outboxes Lang, tiring the stronger fighter out and eventually knocking him out in the third round. After the fight, Apollo calls in his "favor" for training Rocky, which is a one-on-one match between the two of them with no cameras, no media, just man vs. man in the gym. The film ends as they each throw their first punch.

Rocky IV (1985)[edit]

Main article: Rocky IV

After winning back the title from Clubber Lang, Rocky decides to spend some time with his family. However, destiny has some new plans for him which don't allow him to leave the ring. A new fighter from the USSR, Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren), has emerged and challenges Rocky to an exhibition match. Apollo fights instead, and the beating he takes from Drago ends with him dying in Rocky's arms, still in the ring, as Drago coldly watches. To avenge Apollo, Rocky challenges Drago to a rematch, which is to be held on Christmas Day in Moscow. In a montage replete with symbolism, Rocky is shown training in a remote cabin in Siberia with the help of Creed's old trainer Duke, his brother-in-law Paulie, and (eventually) Adrian, doing exercises such as chopping wood, lifting rocks, running in the snow, and climbing a mountain filled with snow, while Drago is seen in an ultratechnological training facility running on treadmills, utilizing weightlifting machines, and injecting steroids to boost his strength. During the fight itself, Rocky takes the worst beating of his life, but refuses to fall, eventually winning over the foreign crowd with his display of courage and determination, and he knocks Drago out with seconds left in the final round.

Rocky V (1990)[edit]

Main article: Rocky V

In the aftermath of his fight with Ivan Drago, Rocky Balboa is diagnosed with brain damage and is forced to retire from the ring. Additionally, the Balboa fortune is all gone due to an unscrupulous accountant. Rocky's family returns to their old neighborhood: Adrian returns to the pet store she used to work at, while, in a subplot, Rocky (Robert) Jr. (played by Sylvester Stallone's real son) deals with bullying at his school and Rocky re-opens Mickey's old gym. While training other boxers, Rocky meets a young, hungry boxer named Tommy Gunn (played by real-life fighter Tommy Morrison) and begins training him which results in a strained relationship with Robert. Unfortunately, as Tommy begins his rise to fame under Rocky's wing, a sleazy fight promoter named George Washington Duke convinces Tommy that Rocky is holding him back, and Tommy throws over Rocky for Duke. After Tommy wins the heavyweight championship, he makes a short speech thanking Duke, and is met with jeers and the familiar chant of "Rocky" from the crowd. Seething from this insult, as well as being called by publicists as "Rocky's Robot", Tommy decides to seek out his former mentor for a final showdown. Rocky starts to walk away from the public challenge, but Paulie decides to let Tommy have a piece of his mind about how Tommy has treated Rocky – after which Tommy punches Paulie. Rocky then challenges Tommy outside. The two proceed in a violent bare-knuckle street brawl, which Rocky wins. Rocky then proceeds to punch Duke for being harassed by him. In the end, Rocky and Robert reconcile as they run up the steps as father and son.

Rocky Balboa (2006)[edit]

Main article: Rocky Balboa (film)

In Rocky Balboa, sixteen years have passed since his final fight with his former protégé, Tommy "The Machine" Gunn. Long retired Rocky Balboa still staggers around an ever-changing world; his son is grown and distant, Paulie is working back at the meat plant, and Rocky's wife Adrian has died. Rocky has opened a restaurant, named after his wife, which he stocks with mementos of his prime as he tells his old fight stories to the customers. But when a computer simulated fight on ESPN depicting a bout between a young Rocky Balboa and the current champion, Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver) reignites interest in the faded boxer, Rocky discovers he has not lost his fighting spirit and considers an opportunity to prove himself in the ring again. Rocky does a great job fighting, and almost wins but loses to a split decision just like the first film. Rocky is last seen visiting his wife's grave saying "Yo Adrian, we did it".

Creed (2015)[edit]

Main article: Creed (film)

On July 24, 2013, it was announced that MGM has offered Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler to direct a spin-off of Rocky. The film will focus on a man following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Apollo Creed, and getting a mentor in the now-retired Rocky Balboa. Michael B. Jordan has been offered the role of Creed's grandson, and Stallone will reprise his character of Rocky, in a script co-written by Coogler and Aaron Covington.[1] Filming began in January 2015 in Philadelphia.[2][3] It is scheduled for an November 25, 2015 release.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Film
Rocky Rocky II Rocky III Rocky IV Rocky V Rocky Balboa
Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone
Paulie Pennino Burt Young
Tony "Duke" Evers Tony Burton
Adrian Balboa Talia Shire
Mickey Goldmill Burgess Meredith Burgess Meredith Burgess Meredith Burgess Meredith
Robert Balboa Jr. Seargeoh Stallone Ian Fried Rocky Krakoff Sage Stallone Milo Ventimiglia
Apollo Creed Carl Weathers Carl Weathers
Clubber Lang Mr. T Mr. T
Ivan Drago Dolph Lundgren Dolph Lundgren
Tommy Gunn Tommy Morrison
Mason "The Line" Dixon Antonio Tarver
  • Italics indicate the actor only appears in flashbacks via archive footage from previous films and is uncredited.
  A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film


For more details on the reception of each film, see the "Reception" section on each film's article.

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Other
Worldwide All time
North America
All time
Rocky November 21, 1976 $117,235,147 $107,764,853 $225,000,000 #455
#74 (A)
$1.08 million [5][6]
Rocky II June 15, 1979 $85,182,160 $115,000,000 $200,182,160 #728 $7 million [7][6]
Rocky III May 28, 1982 $125,049,125 $270,000,000[8] #405
#141 (A)
$17 million [9][6]
Rocky IV November 27, 1985 $127,873,716 $172,500,000 $300,373,716 #380
#337 (A)
$28 million [10][6]
Rocky V November 16, 1990 $40,946,358 $79,000,000 $119,946,358 #1,755 $42 million [11][6]
Rocky Balboa December 20, 2006 $70,269,899 $85,450,189 $155,720,088 #963 $24 million [12][6]
Total $566,556,405 $559,715,042 $1,271,222,322 119.08 million [13][6]
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates information is not available for the film.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).
  • Rocky III gross includes 1983 re-releases.[14]

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Rocky 92% (53 reviews)[15]
Rocky II 72% (25 reviews)[16]
Rocky III 61% (31 reviews)[17]
Rocky IV 43% (35 reviews)[18]
Rocky V 26% (31 reviews)[19] 54 (15 reviews)[20] A[21]
Rocky Balboa 76% (175 reviews)[22] 63 (33 reviews)[23] B+[21]
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.


On December 7, 2010, Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum, for paying tribute to boxers in writing and creating the underdog character of Rocky.[24]


  1. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 24, 2013). "'Fruitvale Station' Duo Ryan Coogler And Michael B. Jordan Team With Sly Stallone on MGM 'Rocky' Spinoff 'Creed'". Deadline Hollywood. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Fans, Stallone meet at 'Rocky' stairs". January 20, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ "‘Point Break’ Moved From Summer To Christmas; ‘Creed’ Coming For Thanksgiving". February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Rocky (1976)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Box Office History for Rocky Movies". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Rocky II (1979)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ Scott, Vernon (November 12, 1982). "Stallone found new life in new film". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Rocky III (1982)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Rocky IV (1985)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Rocky V (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Rocky Balboa (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Rocky Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Rocky III (Re-issue) (1983)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky II''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky III''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky IV''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky V''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Rocky V Reviews". Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "Cinemascore". Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky Balboa". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Rocky Balboa Reviews". Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  24. ^ Webmaster. "Stallone Inducted into Boxing Hall of Fame". Retrieved April 6, 2012.